COLORADO SPRINGS — Cadets at the Air Force Academy now have some extra studying to learn the updated third verse of the Alma Mater.
The Academy announced Thursday a change to the lyrics that Air Force officials said includes all Airmen in that verse.
Gen. David Goldfein, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, said he asked for the song to be tweaked after standing with the women's volleyball team after a tournament at the Pentagon and realizing the verse did not include them.
The previous version of the Alma Mater's third verse was:
“Here’s a toast to the host
Of those who love the vastness of the sky
To a friend we send a message of his brother men who fly,”
The third line has been changed to: "To a friend we send a message of the brave who serve on high."
In a statement on the Air Force website, Gen. Goldfein said, "These are the women we will ask to go into combat and fight just as women have done for a generation. Yet this version of the song, their Alma Mater, was not about them."
Goldfein's statement also said the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point both updated their Alma Mater lyrics in recent years.
A committee made up of airmen and cadets updated the lyrics over the last year.